Journal Article

Refugee Women under German Asylum Law

Birthe Ankenbrand

in International Journal of Refugee Law

Volume 14, issue 1, pages 45-56
Published in print January 2002 | ISSN: 0953-8186
Published online January 2002 | e-ISSN: 1464-3715 | DOI:
Refugee Women under German Asylum Law

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In contrast to many Western countries, German asylum law has not yet been revised in order to recognize gender specific persecution. Although the issue of gender related persecution has been on the political agenda for a long time, there is no agreement on how the law should be reformed to consider adequately the specific situation of refugee women.

This paper seeks to develop a strategy for such a reform. It begins with a brief overview of three different categories of persecution with which female asylum seekers are confronted. These are persecution in the form of sexual violence, persecution relating to the fact of being a woman and the problem of private persecution. With reference to recent case law, the paper then analyses how the cases of refugee women are currently dealt with under the existing legal framework of refugee determination in Germany.

This leads to the conclusion that the addition of ‘gender’ as a new category, as widely suggested, is not necessary. On the contrary, this would bear the risk of reducing diverse female experience to a specific category of gender related persecution which might lead to an even stronger exclusion of women from the traditional refugee definition. Instead, it seems preferable to reinterpret the existing law in a gender sensitive way and to amend the asylum law to clarify that the definition of a refugee may properly be interpreted as providing protection for women fleeing from gender related persecution.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration ; Refugee Studies

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